Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pitmen fail to find victory through the Manchester fog

Thursday, December 04, 2008, 08:00

Chris Philpotts

Unibond Premier Division
FC United of Manchester 3
Hednesford Town 0

PITMEN boss Dean Edwards will be hoping the memory of this defeat will disappear as quickly as his Hednesford side did in the thick fog on Saturday.

Looking a completely different outfit to the one that comprehensively beat Hyde United in the FA Trophy only four days earlier, Hednesford never got going and could have no complaints with the 3-0 scoreline on the day.

In front of the largest crowd they had seen all season, Hednesford seemed almost overawed by the surroundings of Gigg Lane.

They started brightly, though, and were the first side to make either keeper work when Ross Dyer turned sharply in the area and sent a drive straight at Sam Ashton.

Hednesford came even closer to scoring moments later as a Chad Sheppard ball into the area was nearly sliced into the back of his own net by Rob Nugent.

That chance seemed to sum up the visitors' luck on the day as less than three minutes after Nugent's miskick had bounced harmlessly wide of the post, FC United of Manchester had taken the lead.

A passing move from the home side ended well as Jerome Wright took on and beat Sam Hall down the left before cutting the ball back for hot-shot Kyle Wilson to slot home.

Hednesford had the chance to cancel out the opening goal almost straight from the kick off as a long ball from back to front was flicked on by Tyrone Barnett to Dyer who slid it under the onrushing keeper.

A lack of pace on the effort gave the covering United defence the chance to clear, though.

Things were not panning out the way Edwards would have planned at this stage – and they were to get even worse before the break.

Already missing regular centre-back Tom Marshall through suspension Edwards then had to make do without his replacement Scott Stamps who was forced to leave the field through injury in the 33rd minute.

Stamps' withdrawal forced the Pitmen to change from their usual 5-3-2 formation to an unfamiliar 4-3-3 – a factor that contributed to what was to be a poor second half showing.

The half started, much like the first had – brightly for Hednesford.

The visitors showed more hunger than they had in the first period and United were for the first time pushed onto the back foot.

Hednesford then proved true the saying you have to score when on top as any chance of them taking anything from the game was taken away from them against the run of play with only 20 minutes remaining.

The usually infallible Decio Gomes was caught out by the impressive Tommy Turner who then in turn gave Wilson an easy tap-in for his second of the game.

The large United fan base duly celebrated what was obviously going to be the match winning goal – but they were to have more to cheer before the end.

With only five minutes remaining, Hednesford were understandably caught on the break in a move that ended with Wright smashing the ball past Brock from just outside the area.

Hednesford will be looking to improve on their showing when they entertain second-placed Guiseley this weekend.

Match Stats

HEDNESFORD TOWN: Brock, Hall, Burley, Gomes, Harvey, Stamps (Briggs 23), Sheppard (Platt 57), Robinson (Durrell 57), Barnett, Dyer, Draper. Sun not used; Maguire